Installation of the Month – September 2015
Interview with Charles P.
How long was the full installation process from receiving your equipment to flipping the switch?
We received the equipment March and flipped the switch on our system September 4th. It only took that long because I had to make time after work and family obligations. Plus I play vintage baseball on most weekends in the summer.
How many people did it take?
2 to 5 people. My dad and I did some of the work ourselves. For bigger jobs like pouring the concrete and mounting the panels, we got family and friends to help. A local electrician, Halligan Electric, ran the wires and installed our new meter box.
Did you have any previous construction experience?
No, unless you count my kid’s treehouse. I’ve never had to obtain a building permit for anything before.
What was the most confusing or difficult part of the installation?
Probably figuring out how to mount the postholes in concrete so they all lined up perfectly. I ended up building several adjustable A frames out of 2 x 4’s to support the structure prior to pouring the concrete.
There is a terrific investment potential here that should not be overlooked. These panels will pay for themselves in 6 years and provide free power for at least 14 years after that.” — Charles P., Installation of the Month Winner
Were there any unforeseen additional parts or tools you needed?
Just those A-frames that I mentioned above. I used a door hinge to attach two 2 x 4’s at the tops so you could adjust the width and height of the structure. The hinge also supported the horizontal pipe. Then I used hook bolts about half way down attached to a chain to maintain the height of the support (see picture). This gave me the ability to adjust and maintain the height of the pipe. I made about 20 of these, 10 short and 10 tall so the whole structure could be assembled before the concrete was poured.
How did you choose to self-install?
The decision was purely financial. When we got quotes from local installers, we realized we could save 40% by buying the kit from Wholesale Solar and doing it ourselves. That reduced the payback time from 10 years to around 6 years. I definitely think most companies are charging too much for the amount of work that’s required to install these systems.
What was your primary reason for adding solar to your home?
Definitely having a positive effect on the environment is the primary reason for installing solar panels. However, there is also a terrific investment potential here that should not be overlooked. These panels will pay for themselves in 6 years and provide free power for at least 14 years after that. They also add to a home’s value.
It would be difficult to find a traditional investment in today’s world that has this rate of return with such a low risk. Sunlight, unlike the stock market, doesn’t fluctuate with the ups and downs of the economy. I realize not every state allows net metering, but anyone living in a state that does should definitely look into going solar.
Thanks Charles, and congratulations on your new solar system!
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